Memphis day 2 – Ode to the king

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that – Martin Luther King Jr 

Memphis, Tennessee. What a great place. We wish we had more time to spend here. One thing about Memphis that is notable is that it has a very large African American population. In fact, we were in the minority. It was refreshing. It created a culture that somehow felt different but great. We had a decent sleep in this morning after an early night last night which felt great. Smashed a blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese for breakfast and then coached it over to the home of the king Elvis Presley.

We arrived at Graceland and it was not what we expected at all. It reminded us of the entrance to a theme park. They have recently built this massive visitors centre that has several gift shops, a theatre and several places to eat. We walked in, got our ticket, posed for a group photo and then hopped on a little bus that drove us across the road to the actual house of Elvis. You get headphones and a tablet that makes it a self guided audio tour.

Elvis

We walked through the rooms of Elvis’ mansion and then out to his horse yard and into his racquetball court and finally to his resting place. There were old ladies there crying and praying which was kind of funny. It was really nice to see though. Ronnie’s Nanna has always been a huge fan of Elvis so it was nice to do for her. I bought her a gift from there too and then ate an Elvis famous peanut butter and banana grilled sandwich cooked in Bacon grease. It was damn yum.

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On the way to our next destination we stopped at the Lorraine Motel. This was the site where Martin Luther King Jr was shot as he was standing addressing a crowd on the second floor of the hotel. We listened to his most famous speech and the speech the night before he died on the coach on the way there. It was only a small stop but it was a beautiful and important one.

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After this we drove over to the the legendary Sun Studios. This was where the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins were discovered and recorded their first albums.

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It was really funky and cool to be in the place where all that music history went down. We may have busted out a tune or two….

Sun

After this we had a free afternoon. We decided to meet up with some of the group and grab Gus’ fried chicken at the suggestion of Braden. He claims that it is the greatest fried chicken in the world. We went there and got a chicken plate that had 3 pieces of fried chicken, mac and cheese and coleslaw. We walked down the road and sat on some stairs to eat our feed which  was pretty delicious. The chicken skin was extra crispy and really tasty. The coleslaw was creamy and a perfect complement to the chicken and the mac and cheese was cheesy and perfect. It puts KFC to shame.

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Following this delicious feed we swung by the Rock and Soul museum which was all about the blues and how it formed through black music culture and combined with white music culture to create the sound that we all know as the blues. This museum was pretty average to be honest, but it was cheap so it doesn’t matter too much.

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We then walked up the famous Beale street.

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This is a street in Memphis that is lined with bars that have the most soulful live blues bands performing in there all day and night long. We rolled into one of these, grabbed a whiskey and watched a band called Vince Johnson and the Plantation all stars. They were fuckin good. Playing some quality blues music and going hard at it. This was a real blues experience, dingy little bar full of the smells cigarette smoke and whiskey with blues band going full tilt. Just an amazing moment. Blues music on Beale street is a great bucket list item.

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After that we headed to a hotel called the Peabody hotel. You might think it is weird visiting a hotel that we aren’t staying at and just hanging in the lobby, but this one is special. This hotel is famous because it has these Mallard ducks that live in a $200,000 house on the rooftop of the hotel. Every morning at 11am they are marched in a line by a Bloke that has the full marching get up, down the elevator and down a red carpet and into a fountain in the lobby of the hotel where they play all day. Then at 5 O’clock they are marched back down the carpet and into the elevator. They are very well trained ducks and are funny.

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We went back to our hotel but stopped on by a Walgreens on the way back to pick up some supplies and snacks for tonight.

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We went out for our included dinner at a Canadian restaurant called Kooky Canucks. We had deep fried pickles and salad for entree, pulled pork burger for main (though they call mains entree’s over here, it’s bizarre) then s’mores for dessert where they brought out a little ceramic stove  to make the s’mores ourselves. We also ordered a cocktail each which were enormous.

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This was the best included meal so far of the tour. It was really quality food and drinks that hit the spot.

We decided to have a quiet night as it is 15 people on our tour’s last night tomorrow night and we will no doubt have an enormous night in New Orleans for them. We went back to the hotel and watched the movie ‘Friday’ which is always amazing. Thanks again for reading and we’ll be coming to you from New Orleans tomorrow!

Much love

Ronnie & Aimee.

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